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From The CriticsReviewer: Marion C. Cohen, PhD (SUNY Downstate Medical Center)
Description: Phage display technology has had an important impact on immunology, cell biology, biotechnology, pharmacology, and drug discovery. This book presents a wide range of methods of isolating recombinant antibodies from phage display libraries, examining how the targets of these antibodies can be identified, and how they can be used. Each chapter is presented in the standard style of the Methods in Molecular Biology series and includes a brief introduction, step-by-step methods, a list of materials and reagents, and finally a notes section that describes ways of troubleshooting problems as well as potential pitfalls. The first edition was published in 2002.
Purpose: The goal of both editions is to provide a resource to help investigators design and execute experiments based on antibody phage display techniques. A second aim is to suggest possibilities that will lead others to consider how they might use this technology for their particular research problems. Given the innovations that have occurred in the use of phage display, a second edition is certainly warranted.
Audience: This is clearly a book meant for individuals in research laboratories. However, those researchers need not only be those interested in basic research; they could also include those who are focused on novel therapeutic antibodies for clinical applications. The editor clearly intends to provide a resource for innovative investigators to help them use this methodology to answer their questions. He is an expert in this technique, as are the authors of the individual chapters.
Features: Although there are probably some who would quibble about a lack of a specific fact in some assay, the overall approach to experimental design is very detailed. At the least, if one has a problem with a technique, it should be possible to contact the author(s) for some help. The choice of topics is based on the idea that among the wide range of methods presented, there is an approach that will be suitable for most questions. Nonetheless, it is always possible that there is something that should have been included, but that does not detract from the utility of the book for most researchers. As always, the very detailed experimental methods and the notes section with its caveats are the high points of each chapter.
Assessment: There are many research articles and reviews describing the methodology involved in phage display technology, but few give the level of procedural detail found in each chapter of this book. The ability to compare diverse assays in one volume is likely to be particularly helpful to someone who is new to these protocols. Finally, the description of different assays in terms of their applications may suggest new directions for some investigators.